Snellius Willebrord


Dutch mathematician and physicist.

Born in Leiden in the family of a professor of mathematics at a local university. He studied mathematics and law at various universities in Europe, traveled a lot, met many prominent scientists of his time, including Johann Kepler. In 1613 he succeeded his father as a professor at Leiden University. He stood at the origins of the new science of geodesy, first seeing the importance of using the method of similarity of triangles when conducting geodetic measurements. In 1621, after numerous experiments on optics, he discovered the law of refraction of rays, later named after him. Snellius did not publish his results, they were gathering dust in the archives until they were discovered by René Descartes, who included them in his fundamental work, The Beginning of Philosophy.

He died in Leiden.

Mountain north of Negri Glacier west of Sturfjord. Coordinates 78° 30'N   19° 00'E.


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